A new measure that would eliminate workplace discrimination against gays won a significant victory in the Senate, as Congress crossed party lines and began debating on the law.
This bill is considered critical in the fight to uphold complete federal support for gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals. It also shows a willingness of the legislators to become more accepting of diversity, as well as openness to discuss a nondiscrimination bill involving transgenders. The last time the Senate considered such as measure, the vote was 61-30 in 1996. While public support has been there, Congress has been more reticent.
The proceedings seem to inspire attendees. One senator spoke for the first time after a stroke last year. No Republics who opposed the bill stepped forward with vitriol.
Instead, there was talk of a more inclusive America and tolerance for those with unique racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds. While some members of the Senate are expected to alter certain parts of the bill, there is optimism these movements will pacify some Republican concerns. Some religious groups might be excluded from the legislature and measures taken to protect other religions from retaliation if they balk at hiring a certain individual due to spiritual belief.
Supporters of the bill appear hopeful a filibuster can be avoided, and the 60 votes necessary to keep the bill alive will allow the measure to pass.
Although the law already protects us from discrimination, many states still can fire a person due to sexual orientation. But the trend is changing, as evidenced in measures passing in over 21 states.
The commander-in-chief praised the vote in the Senate, affirming that a more tolerant America is on the rise. Others were shocked such bills hadn’t existed up until now, and assumptions were that protections were already in place for individuals outside of heterosexual proclivities.
The fate of the bill remains ultimately uncertain, with a Republican-controlled house and grumblings that it could spell more litigation and eventually result in job loss. Nonetheless, freedom from gender discrimination is a right all Americans should enjoy. Employment attorneys can help provide advice and options for those who feel have been discriminated against at work.
nytimes.com, “Bill Advances to Outlaw Discrimination Against Gays” Jeremy Peters, Nov. 04, 2013